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Digital Copyright Law – What Has Changed

Publication: ZRVP

To prevent infringement of copyright in the digital environment, Romanian authorities have recently amended Law no. 8/1996 on copyright and related rights.

While technological development has enabled writers to experience and even migrate towards additional environments within which creativity has gained new playground, some obstacles have occurred during this process. Therefore, to prevent infringement of copyright in the digital environment, Romanian authorities have recently amended Law no. 8/1996 on copyright and related rights.

The press editor

Among the new concepts introduced by the new piece of legislation, the legal notion of “press editor” has been proposed. Such category of authors has been specifically defined as services providers at the initiative, under the editorial responsibility and under the supervision of which press media publications are released in any form. Considering the broad definition inserted by the legal provisions, it could be considered that press editors might be treated as authors of digital written content, including publications on news websites or even blogs.

New rights of press publishers

Many changes are aimed at a more effective protection of works in the digital environment, especially by adding specific rights for press publishers. In this respect, only they have the possibility to authorize or prohibit the online use of their publications by third parties by whole or partial reproduction.

Moreover, the copyright issue has gained additional significance in this context as press publishers might even authorize or prohibit permanent or temporary storage of their own works on devices of any kind and in any form. Finally, publishers can also authorize or prohibit the availability to the public of their own publications.

However, these rights of press publishers are limited in time, more specifically they shall expire within two years after the 1st of January of the year following that of the publication of that press release.

It is important to note that under the new amendments, these rights of publishers do not apply in specific cases mentioned by the law, as, for example, when press releases have been used for private or non-commercial purposes and by individual users or when links to web pages have been introduced additionally in other press releases, as well as in the case of reporting simple facts in press releases.

Enhancing a safe environment for publishers is a desirable aim, thoroughly encouraged at a European level.  Effective enforcement of copyright at national level will always be essential, especially considering current digital transformation processes. However, a balance should always be maintained between the rigidity of the legal norms and the need to maintain competition and innovation.

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